• Home
  • Guide
  • How To Mascara When You Have Oily Skin

How To Mascara When You Have Oily Skin


The weather in NYC the past few weeks has gone something like this: sunny with 90-degree heat, hair-raising humidity, torrential downpours, and then 90-degree temps once more. The signs of summer! And around this time of year a thematically constant stream of questions in the Into The Gloss Facebook group likes to crop up. What’s the best anti-humidity spray? How can I treat my mosquito bites? How the heck do I stop my mascara from getting all over my eyelids? I’m here today with some answers to that last question. Because for the longest time I, too, had this precise problem. Only it was a year-round issue, leaving me with mascara smudges on the inside of my eyeglasses from summer till summer again—I hate that! But rest assured, I’ve done the legwork to find the handy dandy solutions. Let’s get right to them, shall we?

Order of operations

Maybe you watched a few tutorials where the makeup artist worked their magic on the eyes first, before moving on to the rest of the face. Delete this from your memory! Like a chore you don’t want to do but must do, your eye makeup, and more specifically your mascara, must always come last. After the foundation, blush, brows...everything. Because your eyes move a lot more than you’d think as you’re doing those other things to your face, and with more movement arrives more opportunities for smudging. So swipe on and look straight ahead for a minute while the formula sets. And if you smudge product on your eyelid as you’re swiping, don’t rush to clean it up. Instead, let it dry for a few minutes and use your finger to delicately scrape it off (circle of truth here: I learned that from, oh gosh, Kylie Jenner). In most instances, fiddling with it while it’s still wet, or going at it with a makeup remover-soaked Q-tip will only exacerbate the smudging.

Tools of the trade

Traditional mascaras are the Real Housewives of formulas for people with oily lids: they love mess so much they manufacture it. Traditional mascaras are more likely to do that aforementioned smudging upon application, and beyond that they tend to smudge more as the day wears on. Your most-likely-not-to-smudge mascara is a tubing one, like Kevyn Aucoin’s classic or Thrive’s crowd-pleaser that always gets lots of love on Reddit. Your runner up best bet is a fiber mascara, although some fiber mascaras tend to flake, so you might have to do a bit of trial and error to find what works best for you. Both tubing and fibers are a major selling point for mascaras, so to find out which ones include those formulas just read the label—it’ll tell you! And if it doesn’t then you know you’re working with a regular, degular, traditional mascara. Whatever you do, just do not use waterproof mascara. Not only will it dry out your lashes, but it’s also tougher to remove, making you more likely to yank out a few hairs as you work in some elbow grease.

The insurance policy

You should be able to keep smudges at bay if you stick to a tube mascara and allow it to properly dry. It’s like The Pill—99.98-percent of you can be worry free. But sometimes you want to be extra careful for reasons, as is your right. On gross, muggy days I sometimes swipe on a tiny amount of primer, followed by a tiny amount of translucent powder, on my lids. This invisible layer of protection helps delay when oil makes its inevitable guest star appearance. There’s no need to buy a special lid primer for this either—I just use my always reliable Tatcha disc. And then there’s absolutely no way your mascara will smudge. Not even a little bit, I promise.

—Ashley Weatherford

Photo via ITG.